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News Brief: District Attorney Harrington joins ‘Visit A Prison Challenge’

The “Visit a Prison Challenge” encourages all state and federal policymakers to visit a prison or jail.

Harrington joins ‘Visit A Prison Challenge’

Pittsfield — Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington joined 38 other prosecutors from across the country in committing staff to visit correctional facilities to fully appreciate the consequences of sentencing recommendations.

The “Visit a Prison Challenge” encourages all state and federal policymakers to visit a prison or jail.

“My office makes recommendations on sentencing every day. We seek to protect victims, to hold perpetrators accountable and to make our community safe. The outcomes of incarceration in Massachusetts have been terrible, with two-thirds of those leaving the county jails and half of those leaving state prisons arraigned on new charges within three years,” Harrington said.

“Prisons should not be a revolving door. In Massachusetts we spent $1.2 billion per year on incarceration. Given that expense, we should demand better outcomes. Most of the people who are incarcerated will eventually rejoin their communities. Public safety demands that prisoners be provided with medical and mental health care and restorative justice practices so that formerly incarcerated people have the tools to contribute to society and stop cycles of victimization.”

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office staff has already visited the Berkshire County House of Correction and the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center in Chicopee and will now tour a state prison.

Harrington is an advocate for the end of mass incarceration and for the targeted use of incarceration to protect victims and the public from dangerous people. The negative effects of incarceration on families and communities, and particularly on communities of color, are well documented. Harrington is concerned with the services offered in jails, isolation due to family’s inability to visit, and the effects of a parent’s incarceration on their children’s future. An inmate’s child is more likely to be criminally involved and more likely to display antisocial, depressive behavior.

“Public safety is better served by investing in prevention and intervention than long periods of incarceration and for those who are incarcerated, public safety demands a truly rehabilitative environment,” Harrington said.

Thirty-nine prosecutors have agreed to similar efforts to incorporate a deeper understanding of prisons into their decision-making process: Aramis Ayala, state attorney, 9th Judicial Circuit, Florida; Diana Becton, district attorney, Contra Costa County, California; Wesley Bell, prosecuting attorney, St. Louis County, Missouri; Buta Biberaj, Commonwealth’s attorney-elect, Loudoun County, Virginia; Chesa Boudin, district attorney-elect, City and County of San Francisco, California; Danny Carr, district attorney, Jefferson County, Alabama; John Choi, county attorney, Ramsey County, Minnesota; Shameca Collins, district attorney-elect, 6th Judicial District, Mississippi; Scott Colom, district attorney, 16th Judicial District, Mississippi; John Creuzot, district attorney, Dallas County, Texas; Benjamin R. David, district attorney, 6th Prosecutorial District, North Carolina; Satana Deberry, district attorney, Durham County, North Carolina; Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Commonwealth’s attorney-elect, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, Virginia; Thomas J. Donovan Jr., attorney general, Vermont; Michael Dougherty, district attorney, 20th Judicial District, Colorado; Glenn Funk, district attorney general, 20th Judicial District, Tennessee; Kimberly Gardner, circuit attorney, City of St. Louis, Missouri; Sarah F. George, state’s attorney, Chittenden County, Vermont; Sim Gill, district attorney, Salt Lake County, Utah; Joe Gonzales, district attorney, Bexar County, Texas; Eric Gonzalez, district attorney, Kings County, New York; Mark Gonzalez, district attorney, Nueces County, Texas; Andrea Harrington, district attorney, Berkshire County, Massachusetts; Jim Hingeley, Commonwealth’s attorney-elect, Albemarle County, Virginia; Natasha Irving, district attorney, Prosecutorial District 6, Maine; Kathy Jennings, attorney general, Delaware; Lawrence S. Krasner, district attorney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Brian Middleton, district attorney, Fort Bend County, Texas; Stephanie Morales, Commonwealth’s attorney, Portsmouth, Virginia; Marilyn J. Mosby, state’s attorney, Baltimore City, Maryland; Karl A. Racine, attorney general, District of Columbia; Rachael Rollins, district attorney, Suffolk County, Massachusetts; Jeff Rosen, district attorney, Santa Clara County, California; Marian Ryan, district attorney, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; Dan Satterberg, prosecuting attorney, King County, Washington; Daniella Shorter, district attorney-elect, 22nd Judicial District, Mississippi; Carol A. Siemon, prosecuting attorney, Ingham County, Michigan; Jack Stollsteimer, district attorney-elect, Delaware County, Pennsylvania; and David Sullivan, district attorney, Northwestern District, Massachusetts.


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